By Jacqueline Price – Black Diamond, Alta.
When I saw the photo of the old building at Domremy, Sask. in the February 2012 issue, I immediately began to think of my childhood years spent in that building and in the house next door. What memories!
In 1927, at the tender age of one, my family moved to Domremy. I was the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lucien Mareschal. Together with my parents, brothers Robert (Bob) and Jack as well as my sister Madeleine, we made the big move from Hoey to Domremy.
My father purchased this building with the intention of starting a farm equipment agency which turned out to be the International Harvester Co. My brothers were teenagers and my father wanted to keep them busy and productive. It was a busy time for all since my father knew nothing about farm machinery and my brothers were inexperienced.
In time, everything was sorted out. Dad did the reading and studying about all the farm equipment. Jack went to trade school to become a mechanic. Bob handled the gas and oil sales at the bulk station, which was all part of the business.
Needless to say, it was quite a struggle during the Depression years but by using the bartering system with the farmers, we made it through those difficult times.
My sister and I spent a lot of time with our friends playing in the shop. There were long rows of bins for all the machinery parts and we found it a great place to play hide-and-go-seek and many other games.
My childhood friend Rita Baribeau-Georget and I have remained lifelong friends and we still phone each other regularly and reminisce about the ‘good old days’.
One of our favorite games was ‘Fish pond’. This was played in the shop where tires were piled up nicely for one of us to go inside and anxiously wait for the other to throw a line in and have a little piece of gum or candy tied on the line. Isn’t it amazing how these memories can rejuvenate you?
One of the things my sister and I didn’t particularly enjoy was the windows with all the small panes. Our dad would call us when we were having fun playing and tell us the windows needed cleaning. That was an all day job.
John Diefenbaker would hold court in dad’s office
Dad had his office in the northwest corner of this building. Since he was Justice of the Peace, he often held meetings there, behind closed doors.
During the ‘40s, John Diefenbaker, who was then practicing law had an office in Wakaw, would often come to see dad and occasionally would hold court in dad’s office. Since I had gone to business college, dad asked me on occasion to do the court reporting.
In 1948, dad asked my husband, Bill Price, if he would like to become part of this family operation. Bill agreed and apprenticed as a mechanic and got his journeyman’s papers. He remained with the business for nine years before moving on to a business of his own.
Our father had a stroke in 1951 and that was the end of his working career. However, Bob and Jack kept the International Harvester Co. operating with various trained employees. The doors have been closed since the late ‘80s, but the old building still brings memories to all of us who lived and worked in Domremy.